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Are Athletes More Likely to Experience Shoulder Pain?

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Shoulder pain can range from mild to severe and negatively impact an athlete’s performance on and off the field. If left untreated, shoulder pain can escalate into a full-scale injury that impedes daily function and quality of life. At Asheville Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in Asheville, NC, our team works with athletes and active individuals to help them recover from joint-related pain with the latest nonsurgical interventions. Dr. Christie Lehman. MD and Dr. Nate Crider, MD are board-certified physicians in the field of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation who has the expertise to identify, diagnose, and treat shoulder pain and a wide variety of sports-related conditions.

What are the symptoms of shoulder pain?


When it comes to shoulder pain, some symptoms are more obvious than others and range in severity depending on the nature of the injury. Symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty with rotating or reaching

  • A dull ache at the joint

  • A sharp pain in the joint

  • Pain in the shoulder while sleeping

  • Swelling

  • Muscle spasms

  • Pain that worsens with use

  • Numbness or tingling in the arm

  • Muscle weakness

What causes shoulder pain?

The shoulder joint is a complex set of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, cartilage, and bone that can be subject to disease, wear-and-tear, or injury. Common causes of shoulder pain include:

  • Overuse injury

  • Rotator cuff tear

  • Arthritis

  • Bursitis

  • Tendonitis

  • Fracture

  • Joint dislocation or laxity

  • Nerve impingement

  • Labral tears

Are athletes more likely to experience shoulder pain?

Athletes who are involved in high-contact sports or frequently use their shoulders are highly susceptible to shoulder pain or shoulder injuries. These sports or physical activities may include, but are not limited to:

  • Football

  • Rugby

  • Soccer

  • Volleyball

  • Basketball

  • Baseball/softball

  • Golf

  • Gymnastics

Can shoulder pain go away on its own?

Mild shoulder pain or shoulder injuries may resolve on their own with rest and recovery at home. However, if the pain persists and is left untreated, shoulder pain can progress into a debilitating lifelong injury. That’s why it’s essential for athletes and active individuals to seek out a consultation from a specialist right away.

How are underlying causes of shoulder pain diagnosed?

At Asheville Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Dr. Lehman uses multiple assessment tools to properly diagnose joint conditions, including the root cause of shoulder pain. Some tools include:

  • X-rays

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)

  • Neer test for shoulder impingement

  • Dynamic diagnostic ultrasound

  • Speed’s test for tendonitis

  • Range-of-motion testing

  • Manual muscle testing

Standardized assessments and imaging tools can confirm or rule out specific conditions so that the patient can receive effective relevant interventions.

What treatments are available for shoulder pain?

In many cases, shoulder pain can be treated with any of the following, depending on the diagnosis:

  • Physical Therapy modalities (ice, heat, ultrasound, electrical stimulation)

  • Manual Therapy techniques (myofascial massage, KT taping)

  • Range-of-motion exercises

  • Therapeutic resistance exercises

  • Physical and occupational therapy

At Asheville Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine, Dr. Lehman specializes in regenerative, nonsurgical treatment to help stimulate the body’s natural healing response and to get you back to doing the activities you love without pain.

Learn more about shoulder pain treatment options in Ashville, NC

If you are an athlete or active individual who resides in or near Asheville, NC, and wish to learn more about innovative regenerative interventions for shoulder pain, contact our team at Asheville Regenerative Orthopedics & Sports Medicine and schedule a consultation today. Dr. Christie Lehman and Dr. Nate Crider will work with you to get the proper diagnosis and see if you qualify for our nonsurgical, regenerative treatment.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.